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Prisoners: Tape-Recording Of Interviews

Volume 414: debated on Tuesday 28 October 1980

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, considering that Members of Parliament and Peers require to interview prisoners in connection with their parliamentary duties, they will allow any such interviews to be recorded by what-every means the Member or Peer thinks fit.

The Government appreciate the need for Members of Parliament to make suitable records of their interviews with prisoners, and would not wish to rule out methods which are compatible with the maintenance of security and control and the resources required for this purpose. Members have generally found written records to be adequate; but the current prohibition on their use of tape recorders is being examined as part of a more general review of related matters which is now taking place.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they refused permission to tape-record a conversation with a prisoner within the precincts of the Royal Courts of Justice on 16th October though allowing a secretary to be present in order to take a shorthand note of the discussion, and why they incorrectly stated at first that the prisoner in question was on the escape list and therefore that he could only be interviewed in prison.

Permission to use a tape-recorder was refused in line with current prison regulations. The prisoner in question had been placed on the escape list earlier this year and I regret that it was not initially appreciated that this restriction had been removed on 20th September.